An early scene in director Molly McGlynn's Mary Goes Round sets the tone for a series of ironic events that are soon to follow in the films narrative. Following a night of heavy drinking Mary (Aya Cash) is seated on a chair in a circle of an obvious AA meeting. As the viewer expects her to eventually take her turn to tell her story instead it turns out she is the counselor that is leading the group. Mary is on a short leash with her boyfriend then she trashes his car, is charged with DUI becoming the subject of a You Tube video of the incident that goes viral she decides to respond to a Facebook poke from her estranged father and head to Niagara Falls from Toronto on his request to get to know her half sister.
Upon arriving in the Falls she learns that her 15 year old half sister Robyn (Sara Waisglass) didn't know she was coming, claims to not know who she is and that her father Walt (John Ralston) wants Mary to do the dirty work of telling Robyn that he has a terminal disease plus take care of him in his final days having refused invasive medial treatment.
Writer director McGlynn's film is at its heart a story of a 29 year old woman who has to grow up take responsibility for her actions and admit that she has flaws and faults. Mary continues to drink in Niagara Falls where she encounters a friend/ sponsor Lou (Melanie Nicholls-King) who has seen several ups and downs spotting right away that Mary is in complete denial. Her dad also catches on to her current state noting that she is not driving plus as an addict himself has had dealings with Lou in the past.
Aya Cash is in just about every frame of the film as the titular character. She's angry, sarcastic, selfish and sympathetic all under her red striped blue toque. Cash flips easily from being the grownup in one situation to acting as a selfish child in the next. Melanie Nicholls-King supporting role as Lou touches all of the other main character but she is also fallible as an addict herself that can slip from time to time.
Mary Goes Round is a tightly spun narrative that tacked the subjects of addiction, abandonment and reconcillation in a non-heavy handed manner. Given the subject matter here the film could have been weighty, intense and serious. Instead McGlynn injects enough humour, bluntness and lighter moments to tell the tale but not overwhelm the viewer with morbidity. It's an evenly paced entertaining story that I can recommend.
*** Out of 4.
Mary Goes Round | Molly McGlynn | Canada | 2017 | 84 Minutes.
Tags; Alcoholic, Substance Abuse Counselor, AA Meeting, Serenity Poem, Sponsor, Sobriety, Small Cell Cancer, Half Sisters, Sandbanks, Timmins, Niagara Falls, Drunk Driving, Suspended Licence, Frat Party.